December is the perfect month to predict the key insurtech trends for the year to come and to think of New Year's resolutions: what specific trends to tap into to enhance the digital strategies. We believe these trends should relate to what an insurance carrier would like to accomplish, to what a'winning insurance firm of the future' would look like. We believe that that such winning insurance firms will have four essential elements. Fast changing customer behaviour and new market dynamics make it essential for insurance carriers to increase the contact frequency and provide more added value in these contacts. Fortunately, connectivity, all sorts of connected devices offer an unprecedented entry in customers' daily life. Adding value is about solving the real problem. People don't want a mortgage; they want a nice house to live in. Insurance is usually just part of a solution, but rarely the entire solution to the real problem a customer is facing.
The buzz about Big Data began several years ago in the insurance industry. Innovative start-up companies like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook used some of the first Big Data solutions since their business model was and is dealing with the aggregation, organization, and actionable usage of vast amounts of data in near real time. That has led to the rapid development of Big Data related technologies, tools, and techniques that the insurance industry is just beginning to avail itself. Further, those technologies, tools, and techniques have matured to the point where the insurance industry – P&C, Life, and Health – can and should take better advantage of the various Big Data solutions at their disposal. For the insurance industry, Big Data should mean that the technologies and capabilities that are now part of the data and information ecosystem begin to become pervasive inside insurance companies.
Zesty.ai was selected as the Silver Award winner by Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) in the first ever Zurich Innovation World Championship for its work leveraging artificial intelligence to revolutionize risk underwriting and customer experience for Property and Casualty insurance. Zurich is a leading multi-line insurer with about 53,000 employees and presence in more than 210 countries. Zurich is the parent company of Zurich North America and Farmers Insurance. Zesty.ai has developed an AI-based solution that can provide insurers with detailed and accurate property insights to improve underwriting, pricing and post-event response. Using satellite and drone imagery, information collected by aircraft, weather data and other structured data sources, zesty.ai
Many insurance-focused startups were funded from 2014 to 2016 – but they truly came to market in 2017. This was the year that saw some of the first big acquisitions, like Guidewire acquiring Cyence, major market expansion from brands like Lemonade, and conferences devoted to the sector seeing big attendance gains.
This list isn't just about what is new and innovative. It is about what will be adopted at scale. The beginning of a new year is usually the time to predict key trends for the year to come, and so it goes with the insurtech sector as well. Most lists focus on the latest sexy technologies and applications. But, after a year, we find these have hardly gained any traction and so cannot really be considered "trends" in our view.